According to the Institute of Health and Human Potential, emotional quotient (EQ) can be defined as an individual’s ability to recognise, understand and manage their own emotions. This also includes the ability to empathise with and manage the emotions of others.
EQ (emotional quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence) has been identified and ranked as no.6 in the World Economic Forum’s list of top ten skills for employees to possess. As the workplace becomes more digitised, it has become increasingly important for workers to develop soft skills like the ability to communicate, to solve problems, to interact with others and emotional intelligence. By improving their EI, workers can contribute something to the workplace that automated machines and robots cannot replicate, thus making EQ a valuable skill to have in the fourth industrial revolution we are living through.
Why is it important?
In a recent study conducted by emotional intelligence training and coaching company TalentSmart, it was discovered that EQ is responsible for 58% of an individual’s performance and that 90% of top performers have a high EQ.
A high EQ does not only play an important role in the individual performance of an employee, it also plays an important role in the employee’s ability to work in a group setting and the employee’s ability to adapt and fit into a company’s organisational culture. In the workplace, stress and conflict amongst employees, and conflict between customers and employees is common. It is thus becoming important for companies to employ individuals who can manage their emotions in stressful situations and are able to manage conflict in a way that is beneficial for the business.
Emotional Intelligence has also become an important skill for managers and company executives. In order to effectively lead, managers and executives need to have the basic skills of human interaction which include the ability to understand and manage the emotions of their employees. Being able to manage their own emotions is also important because their positions in the company come with a lot of pressure.
There are many benefits for a company that prioritises an organisational culture that encourages and emphasises the importance of having a high EQ. The benefits are as follows:
- Increased productivity / performance in the workplace due to the impact that EQ has on one’s performance.
- Increased employee loyalty and retention.
- Organisational success. According to the WEF (World Economic Forum), in the workplace individuals with a high EQ can make an average of $29,000 more per annum because of their improved performance than individuals with a low EQ.
What is the butterfly effect?
70% of Fortune 500 companies have recognised the importance of EQ in the workplace and have started to invest in EQ training. Companies such as BMW, FedEx, Shell, Kodak and Boeing have started investing in EI management training because of the need for managers to be able to empathise with their employees and know how to manage their own emotions and those of their employees.
EQ training is also an important part of hotel chain, the Hilton’s customer service leadership training as it assists workers to effectively engage with the customers. At PepsiCo, EQ is a significant part of the criteria used to select company executives.
After realising the significant impact that EQ has on the individual performance of its employees and their ability to effectively work with other people, Ford released a statement in 2017 declaring that the company would soon start investing in EQ training for its engineers in Europe.
Companies are starting to recognise the importance of EQ in the wellbeing of employees and the role organisational culture can play in this regard. In the future, companies may need to consider creating open and collaborative spaces in which employees can work and have their meetings. Creating such an environment will encourage employees to constantly engage with their colleagues and put in practice what they have learnt from their EQ training about understanding and managing other people’s emotions. In addition to this, the creation of private areas where employees can recline and relax are necessary for the emotional wellbeing of the employees.
The concept of emotional intelligence in the workplace has come a long way since its inception. In the 1990s Daniel Goleman and Christopher Golis both wrote books on emotional intelligence in the workplace and the models and tools that can be used to achieve this. Since then, a number of Fortune 500 companies such as Google, McDonald’s and L’Oréal started to integrate EQ training into their training programmes.
In 2007, Google employee Chade-Meng Tan started an emotional intelligence course at the organisation, called Search Inside Yourself. The purpose of the course was to help workers to recognise their emotions and learn how to manage them, as well as learning to be sensitive towards others and their emotions. Tan realised the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace and set out to help his colleagues to develop this skill as well.
Emotional Intelligence insights and research companies such as Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network and Essi Systems have also helped to further drive the EQ trend by giving companies tools and methods to enhance EQ in their workplaces.
Who is Losego Motshele? A a young spirited intellectual with an interest in fashion forecasting and South African pop culture. She is a genuine enthusiast who sees trend researching as a way to stay connected to society. In her spare time, Ms. Motshele contributes to a body of work called ‘The Orange Flow’, that is her personal project. Well on her way to being a trend researcher, Losego has knowledge of what influences people’s interests as she is a final year student specialising in the business of fashion, as well as majoring in Consumer Buying Behaviour.
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